Social Seats Evaluator 

Cast is seeking an external consultant to support its evaluation of its Social Seats programme. This is a two-year project funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation through its Explore and Test programme. The evaluation contract will commence in 15 February 2018 to 15 October 2019.


Cast is Doncaster's state-of-the-art performance venue with two theatres, dance and drama studios, meeting rooms and a cafe. Its Social Seats programme aims to work with Doncaster's most deprived, least culturally engaged communities, opening up meaningful, supported access to arts; whilst exploring, testing and readdressing barriers to engagement.  Its Social Seats initiative is based on a partnership with community groups from across Doncaster who work with local people experiencing high levels of financial, social and cultural deprivation. In each six month phase of the programme, participants from up to 100 people from five identified groups will attend two supported visits to see live performances, through which Cast will test and explore the removal of barriers to engagement and attendance. Community partners include: Creative Directions, Stronger Families, Aiming High, Doncaster Conversation Club and Changing Lives.

The programme aims to achieve the following outcomes:

  • The people who need the most help to take part at Cast, are supported to attend events across the programme and particularly free events. They will also have developed their knowledge regarding what is on offer and how to access it.
  • Community Partners will have increased their knowledge of what is available at Cast. They will also have increase their knowledge of how Cast can help them meet their objectives
  • Cast will better understand the needs of Doncaster's community in relation to the theatre itself, its programming and facilities. It will be able to identify and aim to remove key barriers to engagement and attendance and it will better understand effective methods of communication and engagement with the wider Doncaster population and area
  • Cast will share its findings with cultural organisations both locally and regionally, providing a guide or framework for addressing the needs of the hardest to reach in their own communities.

Contract Requirements

A monitoring and evaluation framework (below as download) has been developed for the Social Seats Programme. This identifies what quantitative and qualitative data will be collected and who will be responsible for collecting information. Cast will be responsible for collecting all quantitative data and some qualitative data.  An Evaluation Task Group, comprising Sian Dudley (SD, Head of Marketing), Sarah Clough (SC, Head of Participation) and Nicola Doyle (ND, Audience Engagement Officer) has overall responsibility for gathering and analysing data and using evaluation findings.

The external consultant is required to:

  • Carry out semi-structured focus group interviews with participants and community partners and a mixture of focus group and one-to-one interviews with members of staff at Cast at agreed intervals during the course of the programme including February ’18, September ’18, March ’19 and September ‘19. Interviews with some participants may require support from a translator and a budget of £130 is available for this. Attention should be paid to issues of ethics and confidentiality
  • Produce a short interim report in September ‘18 drawing on qualitative data and referencing quantitative data, highlighting key findings and making recommendations
  • Collaborate with the Evaluation Task Group to produce a draft final report, drawing on quantitative and qualitative data, by October ‘19 and advise on how to present the report’s key findings in ways that are easily accessible to a wide range of interested individuals and/or organisations

The successful applicant will:

  • Have worked collaboratively with organisations to support them in evaluating programmes and projects
  • Have experience of qualitative evaluation, especially of interviewing a wide range of individuals and organisations. It is not expected that the applicant will have experience of working with all types of groups represented by the community partners, but experience with some of them would be desirable
  • Have experience of writing evaluation reports for Trusts and Foundations
  • Have experience of presenting evaluation data in accessible ways
  • Understand the rationale for the programme and what it aims to achieve


Timescales and deliverables 

The contract will be for a period of 15 February 2018 to 15 October 2019. The interim report will be completed to be added and the final report and presentation completed by 15 October 2019. Following award of the contract, the consultant will:

  1. Review existing documentation
  2. Meet with Cast’s Evaluation Task Group team to agree a programme of work
  3. Undertake the necessary fieldwork to gather evidence.
  4. Prepare an interim and final report/presentation as described above
  5. Present findings to the Evaluation Task Group as requested

Conflicts of Interest

Potential applicants must confirm in their proposal that there would be no conflict or perceived conflict of interest in relation to their fulfilment of this contract.

Project Management

Cast’s Evaluation Task Group will oversee the management of this assignment.  The successful consultant will report to this group and must meet with it following the award of contract to agree their programme of work. 

The Social Seats Project Co-ordinator will provide the ‘point of contact’ for the successful applicant.


The budget available for this project is  £1665 (including expenses and VAT)

Payment Plan

Invoiced in 3 instalments:

September ’18 - £555

March ’19 - £555

October ‘19  - £555


Responding to this Brief 

A response indicating how the consultant would meet this brief should be submitted Sian Dudley, Head of Marketing and Communications by 15 January 2017.

This should: 

  • Demonstrate how the consultant’s previous experience will enable him/her to fulfil the requirements of this contract. Examples must relate to work undertaken within the past five years
  • The approach that would be taken in this evaluation, highlighting specific features
  • A breakdown of associated costs.
  • An up-to-date CV
  • Names and contact details of two referees (email/phone details preferred)

Any queries relating to this brief can be addressed to Sian Dudley head of Marketing and Communications, [email protected].